News in Brief
Double blow for France
February 20, 2010
France head coach Marc Lievremont faces the media, France press conference, London, England, March 16, 2009
France coach Marc Lievremont has been forced to juggle his options ahead of their next Six Nations clash with Wales © Getty Images

  • France's injury problems have intensified with the news that Fulgence Ouedraogo and Sylvain Marconnet have been replaced by Alexandre Lapandry and Clement Baiocco respectively.

    Montpellier flanker Ouedraogo was forced to withdraw from the squad to face Wales due to a calf injury with Lapandry, who made his only international appearance against Samoa last November, taking his place. Marconnet pulled out last night and was replaced today by the uncapped Racing Metro prop fro Friday's trip to Cardiff.

    France have had their fair share of disruption since the beginning of the tournament. Marc Lievremont was forced to bring in new wingers after Aurelien Rougerie and Benjamin Fall were hurt in the opening win over Scotland and both their replacements, Vincent Clerc and Alexis Palisson, went off with injuries during last Saturday's victory over Ireland.

    The France boss hailed his country's strength in depth following their impressive 33-10 win over last year's grand-slam champions and that is set to be tested once again.

  • The Chiefs' Sione Lauaki and the Lions' Willem Stoltz have been suspended for two weeks and seven days respectively following their Super 14 clash at Ellis Park on Friday night.

    No.8 Lauaki was handed his ban for a spear tackle on Lions centre Deon van Rensburg while lock Stoltz was suspended for striking Chiefs hooker Aled de Malmanche during an epic clash won 72-65 by the New Zealand side.

    Stoltz will travel with the Lions to New Zealand for the next leg of their campaign but will not be available for selection against the Hurricanes in Wellington next weekend. Lauaki, who was yellow carded for the offence, will be free to play again on March 7.

  • Leicester ace Toby Flood focused on the result, not his impressive personal performance, after the Tigers beat Gloucester 33-11 to stay top of the Guinness Premiership. Flood kicked four penalties and three conversions as well as playing his part in a couple of tries and controlling matters from the fly-half position.

    "We got a great result and that is all that matters at this time of the season. We would like to have played better and won with more authority," said Flood. "The pack went very well and we did some all right stuff but I think the large part of it was the turnover count. There were a lot of mistakes. It was one of those games where both sides wanted to have a crack."

    Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill was happy enough with his team's display, adding, "I think we played a little too much in our own half in the first period but we tried to play and put ourselves under pressure. Overall, I'm very pleased. The boys did some good things and it's a good result."

  • Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder had no sympathy for his title-chasing team after they crashed to a 13-6 defeat at Harlequins.

    "We got out-muscled and simply did not deserve to win. We had penalties that could have changed the scoreline, but missed four of them. I am disappointed, we all are," he said. "We had a bad day at the office, but we'll go away and work hard this week to get back to doing the things we do well.

    "Quins get in your face and work at stopping you playing your game. We like to get off the front foot and play our game, but we were on the back foot for almost the entire first half when our defence stood up well. We didn't have our England boys for our main training day, but that is no excuse for that performance."

    Harlequins head coach John Kingston was less than impressed by the 16-8 penalty count against his team, most of them awarded during a frenetic finale. That's an awfully big margin, but we stood strong and we deserved to come away with the points."

    "We want to play good rugby and we go out to show how we can play. But we have had a lot of injuries this season. That's not just about us, we all have to overcome injury problems, but we've certainly had our share. The intensity of the performance by the lads was outstanding and the attitude in our camp is very, very good. I can see us going forward steadily."

  • London Irish head coach Toby Booth praised Newcastle for their spirited second-half comeback in his side's 12-12 Guinness Premiership draw at Kingston Park.

    "It was probably a fair result as we were dominant for one half and so were they," he said. "We had upper hand line-out wise and they had the upper hand scrum wise and it often goes like that. The disappointing thing for us is we let go a 12-3 lead, but you have to give people credit for that.

    "The conditions were very tough out there, the pitch isn't great and they won the kicking game in the second half and we couldn't get out. You need to have a good platform and that helps your kicking game and it wavered a bit due to the pressure we were under, you have to give Newcastle credit for that."

    Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates felt his side had been unfortunate not to snatch victory late in the game. "I thought it was an exciting and physical battle and we may have let that just slip in the second half. I am disappointed we didn't win as we had enough possession and territory but we have got to take a lot of positives, we have played two of the top four sides in the country in the last two weeks (Northampton and London Irish) and been really competitive.

  • Worcester flanker Tom Wood "let his frustration boil over" as he received a second yellow card in his side's heavy defeat to Bath at the Rec according to coach Mike Ruddock.

    "He has apologised to his team-mates," the former Wales boss said. "Tom was pulled out of a maul, was roughed up on the floor, and he has reacted to that. It is a harsh lesson for us."

    And Ruddock admitted that the defeat leaves his side in a difficult position in their battle against relegation. "It is a dogfight for a number of teams, not just us, and we have to make home advantage count in the run-in," he added. "Leeds away is a big game, but nothing has really changed because that was the case before today. I thought we started really well and we could have gone 10-0 up. The confidence was there, but we didn't always make the good decisions."

    Winning coach Steve Meehan praised his team, saying "I was impressed with our tempo and endeavour. It was a great example of running onto the ball at pace, which is very difficult to stop when we are in that sort of mood."


Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.